The addition of Qatar Airways as the first Gulf carrier to join a global alliance will be promoted with of one of the biggest marketing campaigns in the airline’s history.

An extensive advertising push will run to highlight the new services and benefits available to passengers as a result of membership of the British Airways-backed Oneworld grouping.

The inclusion of the airline makes Oneworld the leading alliance in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.

More than 20 destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to customers of the global airline group as a result.

Other carriers due to join Oneworld next year include Latin American airline TAM and its Paraguayan affiliate which will be added soon afterwards, SriLankan Airlines, and US Airways in a switch from the Star Alliance as part of its planned merger with American Airlines, which remains subject to US government approval.

Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Alliances are playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry today – and that will continue long into the future.

“Becoming a member of Oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways’ history. It will strengthen our competitive offering and give our customers what they fully deserve – more choice across a truly global network served together with airline partners who include some of the best and biggest in the world.

“In Qatar Airways’ relatively short history, we have quickly established a reputation for innovation, quality and excellence in everything we do. We are pleased to build on that by becoming the only major airline from the Gulf to join any of the global airline alliances.”

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent International Airlines Group, said: “In Qatar Airways, Oneworld is pleased to welcome another great airline that enhances the alliance’s network and product offerings in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.”